Sat | Aug 8, 2020

Trevor E.S. Smith | The coronavirus, your behavioural style and its implications

Published:Sunday | March 22, 2020 | 12:06 AM
Trevor Smith
Trevor Smith

The coronavirus and COVID-19 are the centre of attention globally. I felt inspired to reflect on how the main behavioural classifications in our DISCerning communication framework will respond, and the implications.

‘D’ STYLE (Dominance, outgoing/task-oriented)

The D Style mindset will tend to lean towards a feeling that the virus can be managed and that it is something that we should take in our stride.

This tendency towards a sense of confidence is helpful in quelling the risk of widespread panic.

However, there is the danger that they might underestimate the risk and fail to put in place the drastic measures that are required.

Also, by pushing forward with other objectives, there is the danger of shifting attention and resources from the critical task at hand.

Leaders, especially, must avoid the appearance of being flippant about COVID-19 risks.

‘I’ STYLE (INFLUENCE, outgoing/people-oriented)

Individuals with an I Style behavioural preference are naturally gregarious. They enjoy connecting with others. Consequently, isolation and infrequent communication will be challenging.

There is also a tendency to make physical contact and to maintain distances that are closer than other styles. Constant reminders are in order.

Keep an eye out for this style to come up with some creative and innovative response that will keep us safer until the vaccines are developed. Their posts will release stress.

‘S’ STYLE (STEADINESS, reserved/people)

The biggest issue with the S Style is the self-imposed stress from worrying. They will internalise every possibility and run the risk of getting ill from a stress-induced condition.

They will be very cooperative and encourage others to follow the guidelines.

Their willingness to sacrifice self might lead them to endanger themselves as they support others.

A lot of our healthcare warriors display this behavioural style. They need to take care to protect themselves and to respect their human limitations. Exhaustion can lead to costly error.

‘C’ STYLE (CONSCIOUSNESS, reserved/task-oriented)

The C Style is likely to have the most clinical response to the pandemic.

Distancing themselves from others comes naturally – an early win.

They will be methodical in keeping their surroundings sanitised and in applying best practices.


Containing the coronavirus is going to depend on our commitment to teamwork.

We need to look beyond ourselves and take a proactive and genuine interest in what others are doing.

Sometimes in organisations, we turn a blind eye to inappropriate actions with the thought that it is not our responsibility. That kind of thinking cannot be taken into the fight with the coronavirus. We have to be our brother’s keeper!

Not only must we take responsibility for our individual and collective actions, we also need to play an active role in containing the spread of the virus. Three simple mindsets will make a difference:

1. Leave the space better than you found it

Clean up before you leave bathrooms, lunchrooms or common use areas. Place items in disposal bins. Wash utensils, cups, etc. Be careful around dispensers, buffets, refrigerators, etc.

2. Leave some for others

If you hoard all the supplies, then those without them will put you and the community at risk. Be selfish by giving others a better chance to protect you.

3. Leave it to the authorities

Follow the instructions. Comply with protocols. Respect order in healthcare facilities. You are not the only one in need of care. Let the formal media provide the updates.

The imperative of teamwork permeates all aspects of our lives. Check out our 90-day high-performance boost for teams. The process can be delivered right to your mobile devices. Get more information here:

Trevor E.S. Smith with the Success with People Academy. We guide the development of high-performance teams. We are interpersonal relations, group dynamics and performance-enhancement specialists. We provide learning and productivity-enhancement technology solutions. We offer behavioural assessments from Extended DISC, sales and sports competence assessments on the FinxS platform and e-competency frameworks and e-onboarding solutions in our SPIKE technology platform. Email: